Sunday, July 29, 2007

our apartment

For those who have not had the priveledge of seeing mine and Nick's new apartment, here are some pics to tide you over until you can come and visit!

our beautiful, tree-line street:

spread from our recent social gathering (click to enlarge!):

our bedroom (i love the color, it's so serene):

guest bedroom/office/music room:

kitchen (and Groland):

new couch shot:

full living room shot (I can't wait to get a console table for behind the couch):

I didn't have a good shot of the dining room, plus the table is so small it looks silly in the big room, so that will have to wait until we get a new table. The apartment has really grown on me, despite initial feelings of hatred (which in retrospect, was probably just residual moving anger), and I've quickly gotten used to having so much space. It's a far cry from the one room I inhabited for the past two years! We're having our first overnight guests this week (!) -- my dad and brother are coming in Wednesday night for the Cubs day game on Thursday. I'm so excited for them to come and see it (although I know they will gripe about the hefty three-flight climb). I'm going to play hooky on Thursday morning so we can all go to breakfast and I can actually spend some time with them. When my parents came for two games a couple of weeks ago, I didn't even get to see them because my schedule was so nuts. This time, I am making time.

The weekend was tremendously good, and I'm in a super mood today. Friday night's dinner was spectacular, check out my review on Yelp. I went a little overboard on the martinis, but since I was drinking expensive gin, I didn't have a hangover on Saturday, so I managed to accomplish lots of cleaning, laundry, and plenty of relaxation time. Saturday night we checked out Summer on Southport,, a street festival in West Lakeview. We ate greasy food and Dairy Queen, listened to some eighties cover bands, and perused the local shops and stands set up for the event. Around ten, as things were wrapping up, we decided we weren't tired so headed over to a movie theater to catch The Simpson's Movie. It was hilarious and lived up to our expectations. Sunday we did our grocery shopping, perused the sidewalk sale on Clark street, took naps on the new couch, and cooked a delicious dinner. I even managed to practice and make Nick read lines with me (the reality that I need to be ready to go on in the lead role in this show in three weeks has set in). So it was a great weekend, I'm in a great mood, and I'm feeling like this week is going to be a good one. I'm climbing out of my rut, there's an end in sight to this miserable job, and I have a lot of looking forward to do.

Friday, July 27, 2007

chocolate wisdom

The Dove chocolate I was eating just told me to "write a real letter, not just an email." When did chocolate become so holier-than-thou? I'll have you know, Dove chocolate, that I write real letters all the time, in fact, I just wrote one today to my cousin and his wife and their new baby, which I sent along with a package of ADORABLE Ralph Lauren baby stuff that I got so cheap at Macy's yesterday, I felt like I was stealing it. What's cuter than a baby in Ralph Lauren?

Nothing, I tell you. (This is not my cousin's baby. Unlike children in TV sitcoms, she did not age 6 months in one week and suddenly become able to sit up. Also they don't have that adorable puppy, but this picture kind of realized a fantasy of mine, so I wanted to post it so I could look at it every day).

In case you didn't know already...IT'S FRIDAY!!!!! I love the weekends. I mean, I really really really love the weekends, perhaps more than the average human. Ok, perhaps not. Tonight we have a double date and a half (my friend Stasi's fiancee refused to leave the suburb in which they now reside, so Stas is coming by herself -- Adam, if you're reading this, you're a pah-ty poopah!) with my girlfriends from high school and their affianced. We're going to Hot Chocolate in Wicker Park -- the desserts are supposedly to die for, and the entrees look pretty good as well. Oh how I do love a Friday night out on the town, especially when the whole weekend is stretched out in front of me with nothing to do! Enjoy, everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

thoughts on a Thursday

I'm feeling much sunnier today after my little Guffman ouburst on Tuesdee. I was able to have a fairly relaxing afternoon yesterday due to my teaching gig in Palatine being shortened (all the students are on vacay). I took to my bed for two hours (I love saying that "I took to my bed" - it sounds so dramatic, as though I intended never to get up again) with a book and a cold gel eye mask, and the results were stupendous: a much cheerier me at rehearsal, even when it took two hours to block a ridiculously simple scene. If only every day could be that wondrous! I'm working on it...the more students I have, the closer I am to quitting the temping.

In other news, my cousin and his wife had their first baby on Tuesday night!

Christina Marie was born at around 8:50 in Ft. Wayne. I'm really jealous that my sister and my mom will get to see her right away--I have no idea the next time I'll be able to get to Ft. Wayne and see her. Sometimes, I wish I lived closer, but then I remember that it's Ft. Wayne...

Lately I feel as though I've become disenchanted with Chicago. It's expensive, the time I spend on public transit in order to travel 5 miles to work is bordering on ridiculous, the "Midwest charm" and "friendly people" seems more of a myth everyday. I'm no longer looking for a life partner (found him!), which seems to be a top reason for many young people to stay in the city. Yes, I love the restaurants and the cultural life and the fact that I can get great sushi or Thai food or Sicilian pastries by just walking 200 feet out my front door. And there are lots of opportunities for me here as a classical singer. But lately I've been feeling like the cost of living isn't worth it, the 2 hours a day spent on the El isn't worth it, and that I might be happier (gasp!) somewhere else. Nick feels the same way. I don't know if Greece is the answer, or maybe somewhere in Indiana, or even elsewhere in the country, but I'm starting to think that we could be happier and live better than we do here, somewhere else. My friends are starting to migrate out to the suburbs, but I don't think I want to go there. The cost of living is still ridiculous compared to, say, Indianapolis, and we'd still probably have a hefty commute. I'm not sure if I'm ready to move back to Indiana, but the appeal is growing every day.

So I think I'll live it up for the next nine months and then see how I feel. Maybe it's just the frustrating week that has me disliking it here. Once upon a time, I loved this city so much and was certain I'd never leave it. But "time marches on, and sooner or later you realize it's marching across your face!" Not really sure how that relates, just needed to throw in a fun movie quote. Laters.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

i hate you, and i hate your ASS FACE

This is pretty much how I'm feeling toward several different parties today: Blue Cross Blue Shield and fucking pre-existing conditions, the dickfaces in this office, the City of Chicago and their miserable excuse for public transit...I could go on, but I'll just leave it to Corky St. Clair:

Sometimes you've just got to say it.
(that and..."there's no swimmin' in my show!")

Maybe I could go back to the DQ in Ft. Wayne. There'll always be a place for me at the DQ. And Lord knows I can make a mean curl on a soft serve cone.

The show I'm doing now sort of makes me feel like I'm in this show:

Into every life a little Guffman must fall...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday meme!

I have no idea what a meme is, but these list-y things entertain me, and I don't care if you hate reading's my blog! Go make your own blog if you have something better to say! (and let me know the url because I need some new blogs to read).


5 things in your refrigerator:
1. La Trappe beer (Nick's fav)
2. Gel Eye Mask
3. leftover Greek pasta with myzithra cheese and meat sauce
4. about 5 different kinds of cheese
5. 2 liter of diet coke

5 things in your closet:
1. laundry basket
2. plastic bins of sweaters
3. clothes? duh?
4. lots of handbags
5. a red feather boa

5 things in your purse or backpack:
1. score and script of current operetta I'm rehearsing
2. Tylenol
3. entire makeup bag (woke up late so did makeup at work today)
4. Coach wallet
5. Cold-Eeze

5 things in your car:
1. lots of garbage that needs thrown out
2. Nick's extra pair of (crooked) glasses
3. wedding wrapping paper
4. dance shoes
5. a blanket that oddly folds up into a bag that i got for free while temping for the realtors last year

5 things in the world you want to see before you die:
(ONLY 5 ?!?)
1. Greek islands (soon, I hope!)
2. Japan
3. Napa wine country
4. myself as a homeowner with little to no debt
5. lots of happy, healthy children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews....


Once again, the weekend flew by, and once again, it's Monday. Or "Moan-day", as my friend Mark titled his email to me this morning. We've been writing really deep, existential emails back and forth because, well, we have nothing to do. Mark has been reading Shakespeare online in order to keep his brain cells from slowly dying off. I, on the other hand, have been checking up on the preppy housewife blogs, deciding what to buy my cousin from her baby registry at Babies 'R Us, and decidedly NOT memorizing the hordes of lines and music for the part I'm covering. I did, however, write two thank-you notes for belated birthday gifts and mail off a check to reserve our room at this B&B in Traverse City for Labor Day weekend. Unlike last year, the Labor Day weekend vacay is going to be much-hyped and well-planned (not that last year's vacay turned out badly, it was just very spur-of-the-moment). We've been looking at travel books and stalking the internet sites about Traverse City for about 2 weeks now. We had such a fantastic time in Door County last year that we decided to try another peninsula this year. And Lord knows we'll both need the vacation by then. I can't stop talking about the fact that I'm putting in fourteen hour days and making NO money, and I'm starting to annoy myself. My mind hasn't wrapped itself around that fact that at the end of this misery, I will not have a deliciously fat bank account. In the past, I've equated working ridiculously long hours with making lots more money and not having the time to spend it. I'm hating it a lot, if you can't tell, and I'm not going to agree to something like this again. If you're calling me to four hour rehearsals, five days a week for six weeks, plus performances, you better must be paying me atleast two months rent. And I'll stop talking about that now. Seriously, annoying myself.

Friday, July 20, 2007


So I've actually been busy here in this office today. I know, shocker! Finishing the TPS reports...I mean expense reports, and sending out a bunch of crap via UPS has taken up pretty much the whole day. I'm now starting to get involved in the work here, for instance, the following dialogue between me and the two dudes:

Dude 1: Hey Emily, do you do yoga?

Me: Occasionally, yes.

Dude 2: Have you heard of lululemon?

Me: Why yes, indeed I have.

Dude 1: Do you think people who don't do yoga will start wearing this stuff?

Me: Ummmmm...probably?

See, I am involved in some very important market research. Apparently, lululemon is the hottest new company on the NYSE and is selling, like, billions of dollars of yoga pants. The two dudes couldn't really believe it. In actuality, I have heard the buzz about lululemon, and they make some fantastic yoga apparel that is sold at almost every yoga studio in the Chicago area these days (and all over the world, apparently). I see the relationship between lululemon's success as an direct result of more women staying home with their kids. More moms staying home means more mommies need a yoga break. More mommies staying home means more mommies choose sweatpants over power suits. So why not create a stylish, status-symbol sweat pant disguised as yoga pant?! It was ingenious, if only I didn't think of it first.

Maybe this whole "stock market" thing isn't as difficult as it seems.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

near death experiences and sap

Aside from tedious expense reports and exhaustion, I am glad to be alive today. No, seriously. I drove home from Palatine last night in one of the worst thunderstorms I've seen in years. At one point, I pulled over to the side of I-90 and put on my flashers in hopes that I could wait out the worst of it, but quickly realized that this was probably a better way to get killed than actually driving. These Illinois idiot drivers were speeding along like nothing was happening, as though sheets of rain were not pouring from the sky and lightening hadn't just struck less than fifty feet away (I'm serious - a deafening clap of thunder and bolt of lightening at the same time that caused me to jerk so violently that I nearly lost control of my vehicle.) As I sat by the side of road with my flashers on, cars careening past me, I started to panic. "These cars are going so fast, one of them is going to hydroplane and strike my vehicle"! Shit, what did that driver's test say you were supposed to do when you hydroplane? Turn into the skid? Tap the brakes> Shit. Finally, I merged back into traffic and crept my way toward home. As I drove down Clark Street, all of the street lamps suddenly lost power. It was then that I drove into the nearest McDonald's drive-thru and got some burgers and fries for myself and Nick. I needed comfort, and there's nothing like scientifically engineered flavors and fried foods to remind you of being eight years old and happy.

So today I'm counting myself lucky that I didn't die and am trying to embrace life (sort of). It's almost the weekend, I had a great voice lesson yesterday, and I got some good news about a gig that (cross my fingers!) I will find out for sure about on August 1st. I don't want to say anything now to jinx it. And although I'm exhausted from this ridiculous schedule I've been keeping, my head isn't pounding like it was yesterday. And sometimes sitting at a computer doing people's expense reports is a lot better than listening to eight-year olds bang on a piano and trying to get them to play correct rhythms (which is what I was doing yesterday). What I'm trying to say is: life is good, and lately I've been taking that fact for granted. I'm healthy and happy and I have a great boyfriend and a good apartment and lots of gigs lined up. Maybe I'm not financially secure, but I'll work on it, and I'll try to buy less shoes and less lattes (even if the shoes are on sale). I will not be the asshole who rushes around like the world is ending tomorrow (97% of Chicagoans). I will be kind. I will try not to worry so much about things I can't control. I will enjoy myself.

And that is my mantra for today.

And this picture just makes me giggle.

Sherrill Milnes circa 197?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

this just in:

Bored temps everywhere unite to counter soul-crushing boredom. From my friend Mark, temping over at the UBS building next door:

I just want to point out, that on my hotmail, there is an add at the top for "earn your degree online!" which is no big deal...we see that all the time, right? So there's a big list of all the jobs you can have, like, accountant, banker, engineer, social worker, and...bounty hunter. Bounty hunter? First of all, is that something you have to have a degree in to be qualified to do? "yeah, my major is hunting people down and killing them, and i have a minor in francophone cultures." Second of all, is that even legal? wtf?? is there something I'm missing out on?

If a bounty hunter makes more than $14 an hour AND gets health insurance, I'm willing to consider it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I can't put it any better than Dan over at redactedblog when he says that Italy is better than America. Pretty much all of Western Europe and Scandinavia has it better than America. Land of opportunity, schmopportunity. So basically, what I'm saying is that you can expect me to live in this country for about another year pretending to "become an opera singer", then I'm going to go laze about the Greek islands for the rest of my days, fully participating in the drinking at lunch/followed by daily siesta. Because when it comes down to it, I'm just not as interested in toiling away in this ridiculous cutthroat consumerist society as I am in the quality of the life I'm living. And the quality of life on the other side of the pond is far better than here.

And those are my thoughts on a Monday, the week of 10 hour + days sprawling before me and the exhaustion already settled in. What do you think I should rename my blog if the Midwest Princess becomes displaced from the Midwest?**

**To any readers who may be concerned/nosy about an impending upheaval (re: becoming a resident of a different country) this post is merely a figment of my imagination and does not resemble reality. I, personally, just moved 249812987 lbs of my belongings up three flights of stairs and have no intention of moving in the near future. Thank you and Good Day.

Friday, July 13, 2007

lots of tags.

I haven't written anything yet today because:

a. I've been reading this blog. This guy is absolutely hilarious, think Jason Mulgrew but a bit cleaner, less bathroom humour and a little less alcoholism. I was an avid reader of his last blog, until he went through a bad break up and shut things down. Apparently, he's been back to blogging since last November -- which means I've had nine months of catching up to do today. I'm not sure how I feel about the new compared to the old...I still find myself laughing out loud, but maybe not as much as I did before.

b. I was lunching with fellow temps Suzanne and Mark. I hooked up all my summer job-less singer friends with the temp agency, and it's been working out splendidly for everyone involved -- they can pay their rents, and I collect $100 bucks after each of them works 100 hours. And since all my friends are competent, non-alcoholic people who can read and answer a telephone, it makes the temp agency look good, thereby making me look good. Win, win, win. (I've already collected $200 and am looking at another $300 coming to me very soon. For doing nothing. Win indeed).

c. I've also been mesmerized by the preppy housewife blogs. This one, this one, and this one come to mind. When I read these blogs about people whose biggest concerns seem to be redecorating the kitchen, whether or not to go to the country club pool, or that their child doesn't want to wear pink and green, I am a mixture of incredulity and jealousy. How delightful to while away the days going to the gym, shopping, and making crafts! Then I read more and realize that at the heart of it lies serious shopping addictions, horrid ungrateful step-children, feelings of low self-worth, and keeping up with the Joneses, and I realize that with all the lovely suburban homes and gym memberships and perfect children comes a new slew of problems and unhappiness that my twenty-five year old self can't even fathom. While having kids and moving to the suburbs may sound like a wonderful break from trying to become an opera singer, I don't think it's the solution I'm looking for at the moment. I'm not sure where in the American suburbs you can move and not find people like's disheartening, but then again, there's always Europa.

I can't tell you how excited I am that the weekend is upon us. I didn't want to get out of bed something fierce today and have been dreaming all day about staying under my duvet until ten am tomorrow. Also, our new couch (!!!!!) is coming tomorrow, so we're having a li'l gathering Saturday evening to celebrate (and we finally have enough seating to respectably host guests). I don't have to work, sing, or be anywhere for the entire weekend and after a week of 10 hour + days, that thought is so enticing I could weep. And I have, just a little.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Midwest Bookworm: autobiographies

I love reading autobiographies, particularly those of opera singers. They all seem to have led such fascinating lives, especially the older ones from the fifties and sixties and seventies - the "Golden Ages" of opera - which many people believe will never be matched by modern opera companies and singers. One of my favorites is Marilyn Horne's autobiography. Now there is a crazy life. Married to a black conductor in the height of the Civil Rights Movement, later divorced and had a long-standing affair with a married Greek (I think he was Greek - I can't quite remember) tenor. My favorite story she tells is of the party she went to where she got drunk with Judy Garland. They were rolling around on the floor singing, apparently.

Another of my favorites is Renee Fleming's. It's very inspiring, and often times when I'm feeling low about the biz, I remind myself that Renee was a temp once, too. Not that I want to have a career like hers (well, maybe a tiny part of me does), but it's nice to remember that the big guns started from nothing and got where they are because of hard work and a lot of luck, not because daddy had the cash to pay for their training and keep them from heinous day jobs.

Anyways, yesterday I picked up this little gem:

This is the first I've read from a foreign singer (she's Swedish) and so far it's fascinating. She seems to be the calmest, sanest of all opera singers I've ever read about or met. Except maybe Kirsten Flagstad, who Birgit says used to knit sweaters and drink cognac backstage before she went on to sing Isolde. I'm always hearing these stories about the crazy things people do backstage or on the day they have to sing a *ginormous* opera, like play eighteen holes of golf, or drink milk and eat cookies backstage. I guess at some point you just stop worrying yourself into a frenzy and get on with it. Can't wait 'til I reach that point.

Last, and sadly, I want to say that I am thinking about the family of Jerry Hadley, an extremely successful and famous opera tenor who apparently attempted suicide in his home in upstate NY on Tuesday evening. I met and worked Mr. Hadley a few years ago, and he is a very nice and talented man, and it is a real tragedy that the world lost a great person at such a young age.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

slow news day

Sorry for the non-posting day yesterday. I know you're all really psyched that I'm back to posting every day. so I hate to dissapoint. The truth is, yesterday I spent the better part of the day chatting to my sister on the phone and laying on the floor with my head on a computer bag I found, taking a nap...I mean, I spent the day working very hard, taking phone messages (3) and...well, that's about it. The two dudes are in Boston at a conference, and I'm here guarding the office - ?

Actually, my new task that is going to fill up these work days for the next eight weeks is learning two roles in the Light Opera Works show. We had our first rehearsal Monday night, and it seems like a really great, talented cast. I'm understudying this incredible woman in the lead role, and I can't even tell you how much I respect and look up to her and hope to learn a lot from her about making it in this career. She hasn't had a conventional opera career, but she's done some really interesting and amazing things, been very successful, and has a successful marriage and two-year old boy. Plus, we share the same undergrad alma mater and undergrad voice teacher! Suffice it to say, I want to be just like her.

On top of that I have to learn my ensemble part that I'll actually be performing in the show. The character actually has a name (Gloria), and some speaking and singing lines, so I'm really excited about that! We have to do British accents, and I think I've really been honing in on it (some of you will get that joke). It's going to be refreshing to do something light and in English for a change.

The only bad thing is that I get home at 11 pm from these rehearsals, after working a full day. I'm afraid this show could take it's toll on my personal life, but Nick is wonderful and understanding, and thankfully we get to have lunch together nearly every day, so that will make up for the fact that most nights I'll be crawling into bed when he's already asleep. But the rehearsals aren't absolutely every night (atleast not in the beginning), and we get weekends off until the run begins. So I think we'll manage.

In closing, it's a sad day for humanity. The word ginormous has been added to the dictionary. WHY? There are two perfectly good words, gigantic and enormous, that can be used to describe something extremely large. Huge, big, gargantuan, massive also come to mind. WHY? If I ever say "ginormous" you have my permission to slap me. And if I hear someone say it, this is a fair warning that you might get slapped.

Good day!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Elaine's professional pics are here!

just the "tip of the iceberg" according to Elaine...
(click to enlarge)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

the past month in photos

graduation eve dinner with mom, dad, gram and Nick:

shot of Julia Louis-Dreyfuss giving her address:

I did it!!!:

with Jia-Yee and Angela at her wedding in Rome, NY:

giant waterfall in upstate NY:

Nick photographing the waterfall:

first "real-meal" in the new place:

some cute new sandals (and orange pedi!):

a glimpse of the sea of people on 4th Eve:

giant hunk of red velvet cake with the most amazing cream cheese frosting i've ever tasted from this fabulous place in our new 'hood:

Enjoy! (And hope you're beating the heat...our three a/c units are cranking on full blast and it's a wonderful icebox in here...)

Friday, July 06, 2007


HAPPY FRIDAY!!!! Is it just me, or did this week seem interminably long despite the holdiay on Wednesday? I feel like I've just lived through two weeks during the one. Ah, well. The good news is that I am now legally licensed to drive in the state of Illinois. Holla! I studied for the driving test for about an hour before, and it's a good thing I did -- some of those questions were tough! The whole process took about an hour and a half, and boy did I see some interesting characters during that time. My favorite was the woman who looked fairly homeless (and braless) and was screaming loudly that "how could she pay for her I.D. when she needed the I.D. to get her money out of the bank?" There were also several people that I'm fairly certain were mentally incapable of operating vehicles, but that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that they issued me a license today, and the picture isn't even too terrible!
The weekend is shaping up to be rather uneventful, and Lord knows I prefer it that way. The past month has been far too hectic, and I'm ready for some true R&R. Tonight we're planning a BYOB sushi date, and Saturday will probably consist of further apartment repair/sprucing and general lazing about. Sunday I'm due to sing in church, since we all take a turn doing one Sunday during the summer, so I'll have to get up, but singing at church means I earn a delicious brunch afterward (maybe Ann Sather? or somewhere new in the new 'hood?). I love a warm, outdoor, summer Sunday brunch.
Hopefully I'll get to posting some pics up on here this weekend. I've got some that I've really been wanting to post, but I can't do it from work, and by the time I get home the last thing I want to do is open my laptop. We'll see.
Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dancin', Dancin', DANCIN!

I've been reading through the script and score of the Light Opera Works show I'm doing for which rehearsals start Monday. It's becoming apparent that I'm going to have to do a lot of dancing in this show. Yes, danicng. One of my ensemble parts is acutally titled "Taxi Dancer." What does this mean? I have no idea. Now, I have fake "danced" in more shows than I can count -- it seems that since I'm tall and thin, people assume that I can dance -- but I am by no means a trained dancer. I took two of Debbie Grammel's dance classes for beginners while at DePauw, and I have been known to whip out the "Chinese Dance" that we learned for our final exam in Beginning Ballet when I have had too many cocktails at a party. But in reality, I am still a lanky girl who has a hard time being graceful and tends to flail her arms when dancing. But hey, if someone wants to pay me to "dance" in their show, I'll give it a go.

I just hope the costumes aren't too skimpy. Momma doesn't want to go on a diet for this show.

apartment, fireworks, movie review

I can't say it was a relaxing day and a half off, but I can say that our apartment is *almost* box-free and things are for the most part in their proper place. And I have several cuts, bruises, a burn, and a swollen toe to show for it! Our trip to Ikea proved extremely fruitful, and we now have a beautiful baby Groland in our kitchen:

We decided to go with the cheaper island sans cabinet so that we could spend $129 bucks on other stuff we wanted, like cool glass shelves (not so cool when they fall off the wall onto your foot), a kitchen rug, and a few other things. The kitchen is looking really nice, as are the two bedrooms. Our couch will be delivered on the 14th, and then the living room will be complete. All that's left are some pesky boxes in the dining room and setting up the dining room table. I'll have some pics to post soon!
In more exciting, non-apartment related news, I had my first experience at Taste of Chicago and the city fireworks on Tuesday night. Wow...I'm not sure I've ever seen that many people in one place at one time. It was a veritable sea of humantiy. It was enjoyable, but I'm not sure I'll go back -- once is enough for me. We did have some delicious food -- prime rib quesadilla and mango rice pudding with dried cranberries, a BBQ rib sandwich, and funnel cake. Nick had never tasted a funnel cake before, so we just had to get it. And some beers of course. The fireworks were quite a spectacular display; I was impressed. All in all an enjoyable trip, I'm just not that sure I'm willing to work that hard in the future to get food, beverage, and a spot to see the firewroks.
Lastly, a brief movie review: I did indeed drag Nick to the Mandy Moore movie last night, and while Nick found it "better than he thought it was going to be", I thought it was pretty dull and dry. The chemistry between MM and John Kransinski was nonexistent. Whenever I watch The Office I feel a pang in my heart for poor Jim and the way he loves Pam and the looks he gives her -- for some reason his charm just didn't translate to the big screen. Or maybe it was Mandy. Her character was rather static and annoying, and the supporting characters were really ill-developed and boring. Robin Williams did not come through with his usual hilariousity; I'm not sure if it was him or the script. The only really funny moments were the cameos from castmembers of the Office, especially the guy who plays Kevin. Rather disappointing, but ah, well. They don't make 'em like they used to.
Long day today - office boredom followed by teaching three lessons after work. Momma's gotta make the cash.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Outta here!

The stock market closes at noon today, which apparently means that whatever it is that the two guys do here in this office, they can't do it after noon, hence...I get to leave at noon (mind you, I'm not getting paid for the afternoon, but whatev). So in approximately thirty minutes, I will be free for the next day and a half to do what I please (or rather, put my apartment into some sort of liveable condition). Nick and I are heading out to IKEA to buy a desperately needed kitchen island and a few other goodies. Here is the island I'm considering:

Last night I gave the kitchen floor a good scrubbing and actually cooked a semi-decent meal for us. Linguine and store bought sauce -- but in my defense it was Pesto Sun Dried Tomato from Whole Foods -- with some Italian sausage that I cooked into it, a salad and a glass of Syrah. Easy but very satisfying -- and not Thai takeout, a miracle in itself.
Tonight we are going to try and go to the concert and fireworks in Grant Park. Three years in Chicago and I've never been to the fireworks -- shame on me! Tomorrow the plan is to sleep in late, work on the apartment, and drag Nick to this movie:

I have a bit of a celebrity crush on John Krasinski (who doesn't?) and I love me some Mandy Moore and Robin Williams.

Happy 4th, everyone!

Rest in peace, Bubbles

One of the most famous American opera singers of all time, coloratura soprano Beverly Sills, died last night of lung cancer in her home in Manhattan at the age of 78. She rose to fame in the 1950's and retired in 1980, but still remained active in the opera world. Ms. Sills was probably just about every coloratura soprano's idol, as her interpretations of all the best coloratura roles set the standard by which people now define the roles. Manon, Lucia, Rosina, Baby Doe, Violetta, and even some heavier roles...the list could go on and on. Apparently, she was also a wonderful person, and was nicknamed Bubbles.

The world will remember you always Bubbles. That wonderful, silvery, agile voice of yours will be forever listened to by aspiring coloratura sopranos like myself.

Monday, July 02, 2007

ow, it hurts.

Ouchie. I haven't been this sore and exhausted since I climbed the highest peak in the Southeastern Alps. Every inch of my body aches, along with some places I didn't even know could ache. Mark my words, readers, that is the LAST time I move myself up three flights of stairs. Next time, Nick and I have vowed that we will hire movers, no matter the cost. Nick has been hobbling along like a little old man since Saturday night -- his knee is in pretty bad shape. At one point, I was going up and down the stairs with tears running down my face -- I wondered if this is how those celebrities feel who are forced to do like four hour grueling workouts every day. Maybe they just get on the treadmill and start bawling. I know I would.

Nick's friend Alex was a MAJOR help. Without him, I think Nick and I might have killed each other. Moving day really brings out the worst in people, and we were both screaming at each other for a good part of the day. I think if you can get through a moving day with your significant other, you can pretty much get through anything. And the making up part at the end was very nice. :)

We spent the better part of yesterday cleaning out the previous renters filth. Twenty years of filth (the landlord told us the woman who just moved out had been there twenty years.) The apartment was supposedly "clean" when we moved in, but it became pretty clear that nobody had spent more than a few minutes cleaning the place. It took over an hour to scrub all the grime from the refridgerator, then I spent several hours painstakingly lining every shelf with contact paper. Nick did his fair share too; in fact, we both pretty much worked from sun up to sun down.

The end result is a somewhat workable kitchen, decent looking bedrooms and living room, and a dining room still filled with boxes. But we're getting there, and by the end of today it should be a lot better. The cable and internet is up and running, so that's a huge plus, and tonight we will be installing the three air conditioners that are now in our possesion in preparation for the hot weather coming our way. Thankfully, the weather was cool and wonderful this weekend -- if it had been a 90 degree day, I'm certain one of us would have ended up in the hospital.

My work as a day-laborer (as they call the worker people in Greece) is through. Next time I will be sitting in a comfortable chair, sipping a cocktal, and pointing my finger at where to put boxes.

And now we have a guest room! In a fantastic neighborhood! An open invite to all my friends who read this blog -- COME VISIT! We adore our neighborhood, and now we have a nice big apartment, and I'm just dying to have people over (in about a month). So give me a holler if you ever in Chicago -- you've got a place to stay.